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Grape molasses industry in Rashayya helps to absorb some of the local production of grapes


As Safir newspaper published a report last Tuesday on the production of grape molasses in Rashaya.  The report noted that grape molasses is an important commodity for marketing internally and externally and provides a substantive additional income for small land and large land holders thus helping in improving their livelihoods and economic situation. It is also to be noted that grapes used for this production do not qualify for export and is of a lower quality of what is available for domestic consumption according to Sheikh Suheil al Qidmani who owns one of the largest grapes press in Rashayya.
Qidamni noted that there are currently only three operational grape presses in Rashayya al Wadi and they process around one quarter of all the grapes production.  He added that operating one press requires around 10 to 20 skilled workers.  However, this work is seasonal and extends over two months only starting in mid September of every year.  Qidmani also noted that Rashayya produces around 10,000 tons of various sorts of grapes most of which is used for food processing especially in wine and molasses production, where the production of molasses averages some 250 tons a year.  He added that the various phases of producing grapes molasses include: pressing, sedimentation, cooking and packaging into either liquid molasses or the more viscous one, after which it is placed into special jars for local or external marketing.  External marketing essentially targets Lebanese in the Diaspora in the USA, Canada, Australia and Latin America.  According to Qidmani, production costs heavily depend on the cost of fuel and vary between LBP 2500 to LBP 3500 per kilo, while sales price reaches LBP 8000 for liquid molasses and between LBP 10,000 to LBP 12000 for solidified molasses.

Source: Al-Safir 14 October 2014

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